The VirginMobile MiFi 2200 – A Month Later

Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200It’s been a little over a month since I first started using the Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 wifi hotspot. I used it almost exclusively as my Internet provider for most of the month of September, and I have to say I continued to be impressed by it throughout the month.

There were a handful of times that I had to reset the device because it stopped responding; and there were one or two instances when I actually had to reactivate it. Other than that, I very rarely had any issues with it at all.

Firefox 3.6 Released

Firefox 3.6 was released today – the company notes a 20% speed improvement over version 3.5.  Apparently over 350 million users use Firefox as their browser of choice.

Here’s a list from Firefox of the new features in 3.6:

  • Personas: Personalize the look of your Firefox by selecting new themes called Personas in a single click and without a restart
  • Plugin Updater: To keep you safe from potential security vulnerabilities, Firefox will now detect out of date plugins
  • Stability improvements: Firefox 3.6 significantly decreased crashes caused by third party software – all without sacrificing our extensibility in any way
  • Form Complete: When filling out an online form, Firefox suggests information for fields based on your common answers in similar field
  • Performance: Improved JavaScript performance, overall browser responsiveness, and startup time
  • Open Video and Audio: With the world’s best implementation of HTML 5 audio and video support, now video can be displayed full screen and supports poster frames

And here’s an updates list from the developer side: 

  • Support for the latest HTML5 specification, including the File API for local file handling
  • Font Support: In addition to OpenType and TrueType fonts, 3.6 now supports the new Web Open Font Format WOFF)
  • CSS gradients: Supports linear and radial CSS gradients which allow for a smoother transition between colors
  • Device orientation: Firefox 3.6 exposes the orientation of the laptop or device to Web pages

5 Things You Shouldn’t Do With a Satellite Connection

Satellite_dish_1_C-BandAs I’ve mentioned a few times before, I am stuck with a satellite Internet connection at home. DSL and FIOS are distant fantasies, cable comes to the end of my driveway and stops (they refuse to run it any further, and won’t let me run it myself) and a T1 line is just way out of my price range. So, I’m stuck dealing with huge latency and bottom-of-the-barrel “high speed” Internet service.

For everyone else that moves out to the boonies and might have to make the switch to a satellite provider, I thought I’d provide this quick list of five things you shouldn’t (or can’t) do when you’re using a satellite connection. Still, I am thankful that I’m at least able to get some sort of “high speed” connection, as going back to dial-up is not something I want to even think about.

Hotel Internet Connections

A few months ago, Allen posted an entry at CenterNetworks asking for feedback about what we should expect from Internet connections at hotels. It just so happens that, this evening, I am staying in a hotel in the area around Richmond, Va., which is a rather metropolitan area. When I found out that I was going to have to stay overnight in a hotel, I took solace in the fact that I would be able to access the Internet with, what I assumed would be, a good, fast, reliable Internet connection. Unfortunately, I found that the connection in this particular hotel left a lot to be desired.

I started the evening by connecting to the wireless connection available in my room. I headed over to TNT’s Web site to catch last week’s episode of Leverage, which I missed when it originally aired. For the first 20 minutes or so, the video played fairly well. However, as time went on, it started buffering more and more, eventually getting to the point where it was hardly watchable.

Once I finally made it through, I hooked the ethernet cable to my laptop to try the wired connection. I then headed over to the CBS Web site to try watching some episodes from last season of NCIS (as I’ve mentioned on Twitter, I just recently started getting into NCIS and have been trying to catch up with what’s happened over the last six seasons). I found that the wired connection was actually even less reliable than the wireless connection had been. The video took a long time to load, then started buffering almost immediately. I removed the ethernet cable and hooked back into the wireless network. It got a little bit better, but not enough to make me feel like finishing the episode I had begun.

In all honesty, the connection here is not all that noticeably better than the satellite connection I have at home.

I’m curious what your thoughts and experience might be. Do you think I’m being unreasonable expecting that the Internet connection at a hotel should be good enough to watch online video? In your opinion, is it worth it to have a free Internet connection if you can’t watch online video? Have you experienced similarly disappointing connections in hotels, or do you usually find them to be fast and reliable?

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5

Firefox 3.5 LogoFirefox 3.5 was released by Mozilla, today. If you haven’t grabbed it, yet, you should probably go ahead and do so. According to the promotional materials and the release notes, this version of Firefox has been clocked around twice the speed (it takes less than half the time to load items as opposed to FF 3), upgraded phishing and malware detection and protection, and has introduced “private browsing.”

On the Firefox Web site, Mozilla has also developed it’s own chart similar to the IE8 comparison chart we discussed last week.

The new version also natively supports OGG audio and video, along with the HTML5 audio and video tags.

FreeMeter – A Bandwidth Meter

After my unfortunate adventures with the bandwidth limitations of my Internet connection, I decided to search the Web for some sort of utility that would help me monitor and hopefully limit my downloads and uploads.

While I didn’t find anything that would actually limit my downloads and uploads (no utilities that would temporarily disable my Internet connection if I got close to my limits), I did find a really nice utility for monitoring my connection.